From 8 to 14 February, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) celebrated the annual National Apprenticeship Week to highlight the amazing work done by apprentices and employers across the country and how they have stepped up to the challenge during these unprecedented times. This year’s theme, Build the Future, focused on how apprenticeships help individuals to build the knowledge and skills for their future career.
RuTC’s Apprenticeship Team started the week off by introducing themselves via video on the College’s social media channels, showing everyone how they can support individuals and companies in the recruitment process as well as throughout their apprenticeship. Apprenticeship lecturer and assessor, Rosalind Jenkins, also spoke about the benefits of doing an apprenticeship and the career opportunities that it gives.
Throughout the pandemic, RuTC offered apprentices support in every way possible. The College created a peer support network for furloughed apprentices to maintain morale and help them get back on track, a group of Engineering Apprentices was made redundant so the College proactively helped them to find alternative employment or secure a place at university. All the support was recognised by Ofsted during their Interim Visit in November 2020.
About the benefits of hiring an apprentice, Lisa Harris, Company Secretary at Russell Finex, said, “Hiring apprentices is advantageous not only to the apprentice but also to the employer. Russell Finex have hired marketing, finance and now an IT apprentice, and the recruitment process with Richmond upon Thames College has always been extremely efficient. An apprentice adds value to your team and brings with them fresh ideas.”
Amelia White, Digital Marketer Apprentice at The Marketing Society, said, “From start to finish, the apprenticeship recruitment process with Richmond upon Thames College ran so smoothly. The support that staff gave me during the process made me feel at ease and helped me with the confidence I needed to secure the role.”
For current Apprentices, the College’s Apprenticeship Team along with the Student Services Team, offered support and mental health and wellbeing sessions. In addition, Apprentices were offered the opportunity to use RuTC’s online CPD material, which included courses for communication skills, time management, wellbeing, mindfulness, stress awareness and many more. For external stakeholders who were interested in apprenticeships, the Apprenticeships Team hosted an information session giving information on the apprenticeships on offer at RuTC and tips on how to start one successfully, followed by an open Q&A session. The team will also be talking to prospective Apprentices at RuTC’s upcoming Virtual Open Events on 3 March, 20 March, 20 April and 22 June.
Anna Dobbin, Interim Apprenticeship Manager at RuTC, said, “The last year has been a challenging time for everyone and we have had to adapt to a different way of working and communicating with each other. Our Apprentices, trying to balance work life and college life will not have escaped this situation. It was important to us to maintain a strong professional relationship with our Apprentices and employers, ensuring they feel supported throughout this difficult time. Covid-19 did not stop us from celebrating and promoting Apprenticeships, so my thanks go to everyone who has made this year’s unique National Apprenticeship Week such a success! We look forward to continuing to work with our Apprentices and employers and welcome anyone exploring the option to get in touch with us.”